In December 2020 the NTI newsroom reported that nine landlords had ganged together to rebel against Caffè Nero's CVA which offered them a grade one haircut of 30 pence in the pound. There were cries of:
"We will never be divided," and ...
"Once more unto the breach," and ...
"Together we are strong."
Anyway, eight of them folded having not got within five hundred miles of the courtroom door, leaving a solitary maverick to carry a burdensome flag. Yesterday (Friday 28 May).in the High Court Mr Justice Michael Green said the remaining landlord “was not willing to be bought off, despite repeated offers to settle, including an open offer to pay his rent arrears in full”. That is one determined landlord and you have to admire the depth of his pockets, his determination and (most of all) his lack of understanding about CVA's and the way they work.
As a bit of background filler, you may remember that Caffè Nero secured approval for a CVA in 2020, under which its 650-plus landlords will ultimately get 30p for every pound they are owed. More than 90 per cent of creditors, including the “overwhelming majority” of the chain’s landlords, voted to approve it. Then there were nine.
The Issa Brothers nipped in, trying to acquire the coffee chain to expand the chain into their EG Group, their petrol forecourts business, and potentially into Asda.. They offered landlords the opportunity to be paid 100 per cent of the rent due to them - which is very nearly all of it - but the offer was rejected by Caffè Nero's owners, saying (rather curiously we thought) that the offer was disruptive and, even though the Issas said it could be tied up in two weeks, it would not be concluded quickly enough.
The case will be heard in July and even though all of us in our glorious profession think it will surely fail, we could be wrong. We will be right back with you.